“Almost fouling…”

Argyris Pedoulakis spoke of a tough game at the Panionios-Panathinaikos after-game Press Conferences making reference to the refereeing.

“It was a tough, up to an extremely tough game. As time went by we seemed to be exhausted; physically but mainly mentally. And it was more than obvious from our slower approach to the ball. I believe that Panionios was fresher, more energetic in the last quarter plus the fact that the players were performing almost fouling, incidents of flopping existed with manifestation of the matter, the foul on the fast break. Congratulations to Panionios and we proceed”.

When questioned about flopping, Pedoulakis stated: “The whole matter has gotten out of hand. A player backs up and smashes into the big-man and then the big-man is charged with a foul. The most important aspect in these situations is that they irritate a team. And this happened in many offenses on Diamantidis. In a game which Panionios enforces pressure full court, how come we are the ones committing the fouls? Criteria were not the same. Maybe they thought that this game was of no importance to us. I want us all to understand that the players are too human, that you cannot drive them to their limits. They are competing behind a speedy pulse and it doesn’t take much for things to get out of control”.

Giannis Sferopoulos, Panionios Head Coach, stressed: ‘I would like to start the other way around… It was actually a very tough game, in which 23 fouls were awarded to Panionios and 22 to Panathinaikos, whilst free throws were 14 for Panionios and 22 for Panathinaikos. In the first quarter we stepped out numb, were stressed out when finishing up around the basket, our defense functioned pretty well though even though we were losing. In the first quarter we were bad in offense, in second quarter we were as good in backcourt and gradually we started to head out improved in offense, to function more appropriately. In the second half we were the entire dominators, made 44 points across from the best Top16 defense and forced Panathinaikos to 18 turnovers while we committed only 5. We were much better in the defensive part and that was the most important thing for me. I have stated many times that through defense alone we can win many games. I am especially glad that our defense worked well and we suffered only 56 points. That was the secret. We also made some shots that failed to hit the mark in the first half and we built the edge that led us to victory. Congratulations to the players, to the fans who came to our court, to support us and we always want them by our side in cordially and athletic manner. I would like to dedicate the victory to Mr. Lianos who not only this season but for years now has been supporting this team. I wish all the best next to Panathinaikos in the playoffs and congratulations for qualifying to the eight best teams in Europe”.

Kostas Tsartsaris stated: “Unfortunately we did not get the result we had hoped for. We knew that Panionios was coming from an unscheduled defeat in Elefsina, that it wanted to play for its fans but also for ranking issues. Due to consecutive games, tough and defining ones, we are exhausted and to a great extent were unable to enforce our pace. Panionios was more focused than us, performed tougher through second half; won battles. It is always tough to play in Nea Smyrni and to get back in a game you find yourself trailing in. The ensuing season is tough for us; we have the Thursday game ahead of us, most likely the most important European game for us up to date and after that we will focus on the rest of the Greek League”.

Chris Booker stressed: “First of all I would like to thank the fans for their support. They were right by our side throughout the entire game. We worked well all week long and coach prepared us really well. Panathinaikos is one of the best teams in Greece and Europe and it has proven it this season also. It was a great win, we will rejoice in it today, but we must focus on our next game and the rest of the season”.